Nothing is wrong with this region.
Murder doesn’t happen here.
Nobody gets raped.
No extreme poverty.
Corruption? Forget about it.
Everything is done efficiently.
No racism either.
And…and….you know what??
All that happens elsewhere too, you know.
All that happens in New York.
So if it happens in New York, shut up about it happening down here.
Don’t you know that New York has problems, bro?
And, if you dare mention there are problems here, you are….
You are …. Uhhh ….. a racist.
Yeah, that’s right.
Any criticism of Mexico or Colombia or Bolivia or Paraguay is racist.
So stop it.
And, again, nothing bad happens in Latin America.
Or is that all bullshit?
The Gringos Who Deny Anything Wrong in LATAM
You’d think these folks were personal ambassadors for Latin America for specific countries down here, right?
Folks with the thought process above basically.
The usual arguments center on the following:
First, nothing wrong happens here.
Second, even if it did, it happens elsewhere bro so c’mon.
Third, it’s possibly racist or guilty of colonial mindset to make a criticism (especially if you are white).
Fourth, the person who became a victim down here possibly did something to deserve it.
It’s a bit weird anyway when you find gringos who are like this.
They will always do the most impressive mental gymnastics to convince you that there is nothing wrong with the country you two are talking about.
The Angry Gringa
As I wrote in this article here months back, I actually met one chick in Xela, Guatemala years ago who was like this.
We were both working for the same NGO at the time.
And happened to be walking together towards the building of where we were working.
The NGO was basically meant to help poor kids in the neighborhood by watching over them and offering minor classes on how to do basic things.
Giving the mothers of the house more free time to basically work a job and bring home additional income to support the family.
Anyway, as we were walking to this NGO, this chick was talking about how she loves Xela, Guatemala so much.
And how “it is totally not dangerous.”
To which I found that confusing and replied with “well, it does seem a little bit dangerous to me.”
Here’s a picture of the neighborhood that we worked in.
It wasn’t the nicest part of the city to be honest.
Anyway, I mentioned to her how I remember some other foreigner getting robbed recently.
While the NGO that we were working to was even recently robbed by as someone broke in and stole some of their computers.
And she really took that comment up the ass.
“Oh my god, robbery happens everywhere!
Anyway, she basically lost her shit and appointed herself as the personal PR Director of Guatemala.
To tell all gringos of the land about how safe this country was.
Starting with me to assert that nothing bad happens in Guatemala basically and how “bad shit happens elsewhere.”
Using one of the same mental gymnastics points mentioned way above.
How nothing bad happens here….
But like I said…
These folks will say other things like how bad things happen elsewhere, how racist it is to say anything critical or how people who were robbed put themselves in that situation.
Let’s break down my thoughts on those talking points we tend to hear.
“Nothing Bad Happens Here Bro”
I’m not even sure how I’m supposed to address this point.
It’s so objectively false.
Obviously there is crime in Guatemala.
Here’s some videos below here of some crime stories in Guatemala.
Here’s another article on how “Latin America is the world’s most dangerous place” with many of the most violent cities being in Latin America.
Though, to be fair, it does say that Latin America is getting better.
And this article here claims that Guatemala tends to be up there when it comes to crime relative to rest of the region.
“It Happens Elsewhere Bro”
But I’m not talking about whatever “elsewhere” means.
In the same way that, if I was to be a smartass, I could tell you how even the roughest neighborhoods of Caracas, Venezuela are not really that dangerous.
Because, bro, there’s a civil war in Syria.
Like obviously Venezuela is safe because it could always be worse, bro.
You could be in Syria, bro.
It’s literally retarded to say “it happens elsewhere.”
We’re not living in whatever hypothetical area you want to compare Guatemala to.
It’s usually, to be fair, some big city in the US like Chicago or St. Louis.
Which, to be fair, those cities can be dangerous also and have plenty of bad spots.
But you don’t have to live in those cities.
Plenty of places in the US are very safe.
You can say Guatemala is too dangerous to live in and also agree that a place like Chicago is not ideal either.
And choose somewhere else.
It doesn’t have to be a “this or that place” comparison.
Though, to be fair, if I liked Guatemala generally speaking, the crime there wouldn’t stop me from living there.
Same with Chicago.
I don’t live there for other reasons outside of the crime but that’s another point.
Either way, it’s not useful to compare Guatemala to Chicago.
Because we don’t have to pick one or the other to live in.
And especially we don’t have to pick a poor neighborhood in Xela to live or work in either.
We can always go somewhere else and be perfectly justified in doing so by citing how dangerous it might feel walking there at night.
“That’s Racist, Bro”
The usual logic these folks use when saying this basically goes like this….
“Are you white?”
“Are you from a developed country?”
If it happens to be a “yes” to either of those questions.
Being white or perhaps being a non-white person from a country like the US or wherever…
Then automatically any criticism you have of said country is not legit.
Because it stems from “colonial mindset.”
I’ve seen expats in expat Facebook groups use this logic even against non-white people from the US who make fair criticisms of countries down here.
Just one day, I remember some black chick getting a whole crowd of people saying this shit to her because she didn’t like the traffic in Bogota, Colombia.
“Colonial mindset – how dare you make this criticism. Fuck off bitch.”
There isn’t much to say about this argument because the logic they use would then be used to say whatever I have to say against it is from a “colonial mindset.”
You can’t reason with people who make this argument.
Even if what you said wasn’t racist.
And whatever the fuck a “colonial mindset” is supposed to be to them…
It doesn’t matter.
That’s not the point.
They’re basically using bullshit mental gymnastics to say you can’t make a criticism of x country based on who you are.
Because they don’t really give a fuck if you are white or not or if you are from the US or not.
If you have this “colonial mindset” or not.
They don’t give a fuck about that being honest.
They just don’t want a criticism of whatever country you two live in.
Because if they don’t use this argument…
They’ll use any of the last two or the following one…
“You Set Yourself Up, Bro”
What’s funny to see among some of these folks is that they don’t usually apply this logic when throwing a criticism against another expat.
For example, I remember reading on Facebook some chick complaining about how she got scammed by some haircut lady in Mexico City.
The haircut lady was from some country like Canada or whatever.
Anyway, people understood what she meant to say and stood by her mostly.
But what if that person happens to be a Mexican?
That’s when you will see some folks try to argue that you set yourself up.
Like one time I was reading on Facebook about how she got robbed walking by some metro station in Mexico City.
I think it was Metro Chapultepec.
Anyway, some people understood her and wished her the best to move forward.
Others were acting like dumb cunts going “well, that area is dangerous bro, it’s your fault. You shouldn’t have been there and shouldn’t carry so much on you.”
Which, to be fair, both of those arguments are sound alone.
For one, the area around Metro Chapultepec is not dangerous.
I lived near that spot once and it was perfectly fine.
That person who said that was full of shit.
But it does make sense to not walk in a dangerous neighborhood.
Second, it does make sense to not carry much on you.
But the victim replied how they only had like 25 bucks on them or 500 pesos.
No fancy watches or phone or anything like that
So, similar to the argument about bad location, this argument is bullshit in that context.
Anyway, that’s not uncommon from what I’ve seen expats say on these expat forums and groups online.
Not all expats obviously.
But there is a type that essentially will use these arguments and whatever other arguments that they can use mental gymnastics to say.
Always as a way to swipe away any valid criticism of a country down here.
But why do they do this?
Here are my theories.
As I wrote elsewhere, you will notice that sometimes it has more to do with relative experiences.
People see things differently based on their experiences down here.
Like how I don’t think the area around Metro Chapultepec is dangerous but that other dude apparently shits himself when he shows up by that area.
But I do believe sometimes it has less to do with a gringo trying to block any valid criticism of a local country down here…
And at times is just a misunderstanding as people see things differently based on their experiences somewhere.
For example, maybe that Oregon chick I mentioned way before grew up in an extremely abusive home getting stabbed in the kidney every week by her parents…
Living in the most dangerous neighborhood of the whole world.
And then was sent to Iraq to fight terrorism at the age of 18 for the US army.
Sure, in that context, I can see how she didn’t see that neighborhood as seeming sketchy at night.
Sometimes it is not the angry gringo coming to the rescue to defend his new home country from any criticisms…
Sometimes it happens to be an angry local who feels insecure about anything wrong with their country.
I remember when I was apartment shopping a few weeks ago….
Looking at this new bed, I asked if I could check the sheets.
He said sure.
But asked why.
I explained how I had an apartment months ago as you can read here that had bed bugs in Mexico City.
The only one I ever had.
And so I just want to check to be sure.
Not that I believed it had bed bugs or wanted to imply his place was shit.
It was a fine place.
Just wanted to be sure.
You had bed bugs once, you want to make sure you don’t have them again.
The dude was low-key offended though.
He replied “they don’t have bed bugs in America?”
I obviously said sure but I had one bad experience and just want to check again before renting anywhere else.
Just to avoid the bad experience again.
Anyway, the dude mumbled something under his breath and we seemed at a bad start.
Obviously, I didn’t rent there as the dude just seemed weird in general.
And offended by that comment.
Though, like most Mexicans, they usually are very passive-aggressive about everything and just walk away mumbling.
At least in my experience.
Anyway, I asked other apartment owners about their beds and none seemed offended.
Just that dude.
And I’ve encountered this insecurity at times by other locals.
The most obvious example I can think of is when you mention drugs to a Colombian.
That’s a wider scale societal issue than just bed bugs in a new place.
But Colombians are quite understandably annoyed at this association of cocaine to their country.
And I could probably think of other examples I’ve seen over the years…
Most of the time it being keyboard local warriors writing paragraphs after paragraphs about “dumb gringos” on expat forums when some valid criticism is applied to their home country.
But, like I said, it’s not always the locals.
Next, we have gringos who simply take issue with criticisms of Latin countries for political reasons.
These types are the ones who are usually accusing you of being racist with a “colonial mindset” when you make a valid criticism of whatever Latin country.
They usually went to some liberal arts school perhaps and had some very left wing professors dig into their heads about ideas that lead to a certain ideology…
While continuing to read online publications that share a similar ideology…
And have friends in their own little bubble that share a similar ideology…
What is this ideology?
It is complicated to break down briefly and much of it is not relevant to this article.
But, like I wrote here, part of the ideology basically includes this belief that…
First, white people and people from developed countries shouldn’t have opinions about non-white people or lesser developed countries.
Similar to this article here about this French mayor over in Europe who says white people should keep quiet on debates about racism.
On top of that, their ideology tends to view non-white people and Latin American countries as basically not having agency or responsibility for their own actions and outcomes in life.
So any criticism of a country like Mexico or Paraguay will invoke a knee jerk reaction of severe autistic anger.
That’s how I see it anyway.
Similar to how these folks have no issue putting blame on gringo who scams people down here like that haircut lady mentioned before…
But will go to war if anyone wants to criticise a local for mugging others or committing any crime or questionable action in general.
To which then they use the same mental gymnastics as before – it was your fault, you’re racist, it’s worse elsewhere or there are no locals who do anything wrong.
It’s weird but these folks seem to exist from what I’ve noticed.
But, if we are being fair, there are times where anger about a criticism is valid.
Another issue at work here is sometimes I feel you have gringos who simply want to justify their continued existence in the country.
So when you walk around throwing a criticism at the country like Mexico or Colombia…
You are reminding them that they quite possibly made a bad choice to live and move down here.
And obviously that’s a hit to their ego and decision making.
So they will double down basically and try to block any valid criticism you have.
Sometimes though the reason for why the gringo is angry about this is more complicated…
The Non-Ending Bitching Gringo
Finally, let’s be a little bit nuanced here, shall we?
There does exist the occasional gringo down here who basically never stops bitching about life in Latin America.
He can be seen ordering tacos de pastor on the street and probably bitching to the cook about how his country sucks.
At any party he goes to, he will be seen somewhere bitching about the locals in a dark corner causing suffering to the eardrums of anyone who is standing by him trying to pour themselves another drink.
Before they finish refilling half-way through the glass and think “ah fuck this, I got to get away from him.”
In all honesty, they can probably be seen sitting down next to some poor homeless person who just finished vomiting on their own body…
Who is probably suffering and with hands that shake badly needing another 40 pesos…
Hoping this random gringo will throw him the money needed to buy some more tonayan….
Which is a cheap Mexican liquor.
But ultimately only getting maybe 5 pesos after said gringo finishes his 1 hour bitching monologue to the homeless dude about why his country sucks.
And why “there’s too many homeless people here.”
Before he then runs off into the night looking for someone else to bitch to.
Now, to be fair, the criticism of “too many homeless people” is a valid one in Mexico City.
Sure, there’s plenty of homeless people and they need help.
But there’s a difference between making a solid critique of Mexico City or whatever part of Latin America…
And always bitching to every single person in real life at all moments of the day.
With those specific individuals, I can get why someone would get annoyed at them.
And they do exist also.
In that sense, you can argue then rightfully so that there is a time and place to make a criticism.
To your best friend or partner when you two are alone having a conversation?
But in the middle of fucking a Tinder chick thrusting inside her and moaning also at the same time about “ugghhh, the traffic in Mexico City is terrible.”
Not the best time to bring up your concerns.
Maybe during a call with a family member when they are curious about the good, the bad and the ugly of life down here?
What about in the middle of a local house party surrounded by Mexicans and you loudly go on about how “Mexico fucking sucks bro. Mexicans are fucking retarded. I hate all of them.”
I’m not sure that’s the right time for a drunken monologue about how you hate the country so much.
Just my opinion.
In short, they always have negative things to say, say them at the wrong time and place and never have a positive thing to say about the country they are in.
Have you seen any of these fine characters from above?
Or have you noticed any other group of people get angry at valid criticisms made about a local country where you live?
Maybe you have seen new styles of mental gymnastics not mentioned here?
Drop anything you have to say below in the comment section.
And follow my Twitter here.
Thanks for reading.